Portsmouth boss addresses Fratton futures of 14 out-of-contract players - and why Blues' stance is right

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Marlon Pack, Sean Raggett, Connor Ogilvie, Joe Rafferty and Joe Morrell are among those out of contract

Pompey have occupied League One’s top spot since September, irrespective of uncertain Fratton Park futures for 14 out-of-contract players.

And John Mousinho has praised the professionalism and mentality of a Blues squad standing on the brink of a cherished Championship return after 12 years away.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Keen for player focus to remain fixed on promotion, earlier this season the Pompey shelved all talks of fresh deals until the campaign’s end.

Pompey skipper Marlon Pack is among 14 players out of contract in the summer. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImagesPompey skipper Marlon Pack is among 14 players out of contract in the summer. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages
Pompey skipper Marlon Pack is among 14 players out of contract in the summer. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages | Jason Brown/ProSportsImages

As a consequence, four of the side which started in last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Bolton are scheduled to become free agents this summer - unless the club step in.

That includes three of Saturday’s back four - Sean Raggett, Joe Rafferty and Connor Ogilvie - plus skipper Marlon Park.

Others are Joe Morrell, Zak Swanson, Lee Evans, Josh Martin, Liam Vincent, Haji Mnoga, Harry Jewitt-White, Josh Martin, Matt Macey, Ryan Schofield and Josh Dockerill.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Clearly these are unsettling times for the players concerned. Nonetheless, for those associated with first-team, the situation has hardly impeded the push for promotion. 

Mousinho told The News: ‘We’ve deliberately not looked at anything to do with contracts and haven’t discussed anything with the players.

‘Maybe if we were in a different position, in terms of what I thought about the mentality of the squad, we would have done. But this squad is focused on achieving what they want to achieve.

‘We’ve said it all along, let’s get the job done and worry about all of that after.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

‘Regardless of individual situations, it’s a massive, massive bonus for anybody in or out of contract to achieve promotion. Everybody recognises that in the dressing room and gets on with the job.

‘There are some playing week in, week out and it has never been an issue. For example, our back four at Bolton contained three out of contract - and they’ve consistently been some of our best performers this season.

‘It has never been an issue and hopefully adds a bit of motivation for those boys as well. Certainly when I’ve been a player, I’ve known others coming towards the end of their contracts and really picking up performances.

‘If you want to achieve anything in a Football League season, it’s so long and so hard that you need to be at it every single day and every single week. You can’t afford to have peaks and troughs.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

‘These players have got their heads down and got on with it. No-one has moaned, their agents have been absolutely fine, and the message is consistent to everybody - let's get the job done and see where we are after that.’

As in customary, Pompey players will be called in for individual meetings with Mousinho after the season ends.

In this case, they will be held in the week following the trip to Lincoln (April 27), a fixture which marks the culmination of, hopefully, a successful campaign. 

In the meantime, Pompey are challenged with beating Barnsley on Tuesday night to secure promotion and the League One title.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mousinho added: ‘If we manage to get the job done on Tuesday night, we’ll start thinking about those things (contracts) internally, but we want to finish the season off.

‘The campaign finishes on April 27 and the next doesn’t start until the second week of August, so we have a long summer. There’s absolutely no rush from our point of view.

‘Contractually, we have the boys until the end of June and need to make a decision by the third week in May, so there is no rush from our point of view.’

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.